By Tony Attwood
16 May sees a variety of Arsenal anniversaries.
The 1910 tale of financial disaster continues with Arsenal desperately trying to sell shares in itself to anyone who would come along and buy them. Rangers (the Glasgow club, not QPR!) did in fact take up the offer, and kept their shares until a short while ago, when they were sold to relieve their cash crisis.
But perhaps the most interesting story is the one from 16 May 1891. This was when Arsenal decided to go professional and so out of respect for the rules of the local FAs, sent in their resignation.
The story told by George Allison in the first ever Arsenal handbook (a story replicated by the club and most commentators all the way through until modern times) was that Arsenal were indeed thrown out of the FAs and almost went bust, trying to find fixtures in the north of England.
That was quite untrue – the local clubs desperately wanted to keep Arsenal as a regular fixture since it brought in the largest gates of the season – and so the FAs rejected the resignation.
Naughty Mr Allison – but why might he have got it so wrong? The answer is with the articles on this site on Allison, but if you can wait, there is a new Arsenal History booklet being given away to all members of AISA this summer, and that will tell it all.
If you are not in AISA, do join. It is worth it for the book alone – and there is plenty more! www.aisa.org
But back to the anniversaries. Leslie Knighton, Arsenal’s first Highbury manager, was sacked by Sir Henry Norris, and worked out his notice, finally leaving on this day in 1925, to be replaced by Herbert Chapman.
The 1980 anniversary listed below takes us to a period of the club’s history where we were ultimately beaten not by the opposition (although technically we were) but simply by the number of games we had to play.
And more recently, there is the second double to remember.
Hope you enjoy the articles – if you would like to contribute do write to Tony.Attwood@aisa.org
16 May 1881: Teddy Bateup, Arsenal goalkeeper, born.
16 May 1891, at its AGM Royal Arsenal vote against forming a Ltd company and offer to resign from the London FA and the Kent FA – but neither take up the offer.
16 May 1925: Knighton, Arsenal’s first manager at Highbury, departs to make way for Chapman.
16 May 1934: Jack Crayston joined from Bradford
16 May 1962: Jack Kelsey injures his back and ultimately retires
16 May 1993: Arsenal’s song “Shouting for the Gunners” enters the charts!
16 May 1997: Matthew Upson signed from Luton Town
16 May 1980: Arsenal beat Wolverhampton Wanderers away 2-1 to keep the European dream alive